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Archive for April, 2007

Stephen Hawking is half right

Posted in Technology, Transhuman Morality, Transhumanism on April 27th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Stephen Hawking is half right

My old pal Stephen Hawking has been in the news a lot today for going on a vomet-comet ride. (Okay, we’re not really old pals, but we’ve chatted a couple of times, notably at my grandpa’s memorial service where he gave a really touching eulogy.) At a press conference before his flight, Stephen said: “Life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers.” On this point I completely agree with him. This idea was a key point I made in…

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Temper, Temper!

Posted in Biking, Personal Growth on April 26th, 2007 by leodirac – 2 Comments

I lost my temper today. It doesn’t happen often, but it always gives me pause to reflect on how I might have handled the situation better. In this case I think it’s pretty clear. I was biking home from work, riding up Pinke on my normal commute route. A bus was stopped in the right lane so I moved into the next lane to pass it. As I did this, a white SUV (IIRC license plate 974-PPF) pulls up close behind me, revving its engine and honking repeatedly. The driver yells out of the window “Get out of the road!”…

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Rhapsody Greasemonkey Script: Optimizing Text Manipulation in Javascript with Regular Expressions

Posted in Computer Science, Music, Software Engineering on April 24th, 2007 by leodirac – 2 Comments

After many months of talking and thinking about it, I finally wrote a greasemonkey script to annotate web pages with Rhaplinks. The script scans web pages looking for the names of musicians and when it finds them, links them to Rhapsody.com so you can listen to music by the named artist. This simple idea is actually tricky to implement properly. Rhapsody has a lot of music and a lot of artists. So many that keeping the entire list in a javascript program is impractical, as is downloading the entire list from the server. So I took the most popular 50-100…

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Apologies for the downtime

Posted in Humor, Technology on April 24th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Apologies for the downtime

The house where my nameserver lives lost power today. I’ve moved DNS service to a professional hosting service to avoid similar problems in the future, thus continuing the trend of moving services into the server cloud. It’s probably best since the server closet at that house is also the laundry room. When we set up that house we understood something few MIS folks do — computers really love warm damp environments. Anyway, sorry for the inconvenience. Everything should be back to normal in a few hours. (If you’re reading this, it almost certainly is.)

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Yahoo claims to launch legal lyrics service, but where is it?

Posted in Business, Music, Tech Industry on April 24th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Yahoo claims to launch legal lyrics service, but where is it?

Everybody’s reporting this morning stories about how Yahoo has launched the first legal lyrics website. This is an impressive feat considering how complex rights to song lyrics are. Two companies, Gracenote (formerly CDDB) and a Canadian startup, LyricFind, have been working for years to aggregate the rights to popular song lyrics to create such an offering. At CES this year, both were actively trying to drum up business. LyricFind has partnered with AMG to distribute their lyrics. Yahoo chose the better-established Gracenote as their data provider. I’ve spent some time looking around this morning, and I can’t find any lyrics…

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Sonos Alarms: A Nice Touch

Posted in Gadgets, Music, User Experience on April 23rd, 2007 by leodirac – 6 Comments

This morning when my alarm went off it wasn’t the numbing pleasantries of NPR reporters telling me everything wrong with the world. It was a maddening multi-tonal chirp as if a band of crazed robots were about to bulldoze my house to make way for a new interstellar bypass. It certainly woke me up, and fortunately I had a nice yoga practice to restore my nerves. But I spent a few minutes futzing with my Sonos to figure out why it had played its internal “Chime” noise instead of KUOW like I wanted it to. I determined that the problem…

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Preparing for External Brain Failure

Posted in Gadgets, Technology, Transhumanism, Travel on April 18th, 2007 by leodirac – 1 Comment

Charles Stross’s book Accelerando has a hilarious scene where a highly-augmented human loses his glasses which are his primary interface to the computer systems which support his thinking. The character is so used to relying on these external systems for support that his immediate response is “Who am I?” In first aid, we learn to rank somebody’s level of alertness and orientation by asking them if they know their name, where they are, what time it is and what happened, getting additional points for each successively harder question. Without his glasses, this human was unable to answer even the easiest…

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Apparent Google Bias

Posted in Business, Ego, Google, Tech Industry on April 16th, 2007 by leodirac – 4 Comments

First, I’d like to welcome everybody landing here after searching for something on Google. I hope you find what you’re looking for. I know Google has been crawling my site nearly since its launch, and I’ve been passively wondering when would this site show up in Google’s search index. It’s been in Yahoo and MSN for ages, and getting more and more links from high profile sites all the time. Well I just got the answer: as soon as I gave Google money. Surprised? As a birthday present to myself, I bought a few adwords like: Your Brain in a…

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